We launch our ‘Behind the Scenes’ series of interviews to celebrate the fantastic people who help put on the South Carrick David Bell Memorial. Road races don’t just happen, they require a lot of committed volunteers willing to put in a lot of preparation. Over the next few months we aim to bring you their tales, including everyone from the chief commissaire to the hall cleaner!
To coincide with the announcement of our mission to raise £5,000 for charity, we start with Catriona Johnson, a fundraiser for MS Society Scotland.
My brother, Christopher Johnson, is the race organiser. Cycling has always been important in our family – growing up, our house was always full of bikes and as a child our family holidays included being taken to see stages of the Tour de France on more than one occasion!
I was diagnosed with MS at 21. In the 4 years since my diagnosis it has changed my life dramatically and has affected not only me but those people close to me. More than 100,000 people in the UK are affected by MS and currently there is no cure, but research is progressing fast. Every penny raised for the MS Society Scotland goes towards funding either this crucial research or towards providing invaluable support to people, like myself, who have MS.
For the most part, I live what is termed a ‘normal life’! I am currently a student, studying full-time towards a degree, I love spending time with family and friends and I do pretty much everything your average 20-something does – I enjoy life! However, it’s the smaller things which are more difficult, due to associated problems with my balance, sensation and mobility simple things like going for a walk, climbing stairs and, probably the most apt, riding a bike become a huge and sometimes impossible challenge.
Scotland has one of the highest incidences of MS in the world and the MS Society Scotland make it their mission to beat it. They raise awareness of MS, make it a priority at political level and provide support and information to people affected by MS around the country.
Cyclists can get involved in the fundraising action by asking people to sponsor them to complete the Highwayman Challenge – the 100km Audax running the day before the South Carrick David Bell Memorial. The Highwayman Challenge has its very own JustGiving page! – It’s a fantastic way to raise money for a very deserving cause!
First and foremost, I will be there cheering on everybody who takes part! I will also be dishing out some very tasty snacks (I’d better get practising my baking!) and generally just soaking up the atmosphere of what is set to be a fantastic weekend of cycling!